Frontier’s West has overcome plenty of adversity
Favorite subject: history
Sports: baseball, basketball
Family: Johnny and Rhea West (father and mother); Noah West (brother), Dakota (West) O’Neal (sister)
Question: Phyically, how are you doing?
Answer: (Laughs) I’m 100 percent good. But I am taking blood pressure medication.
Q: Last season, that was pretty scary with you having you having heart surgery. How did you learn of your condition?
A: Well, I had a sports physical before the basketball season started, and my blood pressure was high. So, they sent me to Zanesville, and Zanesville sent me to Columbus for further testing. Apparently (in layman’s terms), the electrical side of the heart wasn’t working, and it was decided that I needed surgery, because the doctor said that if I didn’t, I could pass away on the court.
Q: Were you ever in any pain?
A: You know, I really didn’t hurt and I never noticed anything different. But after the surgery, it made a big difference, because I could breathe better and had more energy.
Q: When did you have the surgery and where?
A: February 22 (2017), and it was done at Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
Q: That’s a date, you’ll probably never forget. Of course, you ended up missing some of the basketball season?
A: The last part of it, because I wasn’t discharged until early March. After the surgery, I was in the hospital for 10 more days for observation.
Q: You got just in time to get ready for spring baseball, right?
A: (Laughs) I did.
Q: So, what is your favorite sport?
A: Baseball, definitely. I started playing at a very young age. I didn’t start playing basketball until around the fifth grade.
Q: Have you always been a pitcher?
A: I love to pitch. Now, when I’m not pitching, I play first or third base.
Q: Have you ever thrown a no-hitter?
A: (Laughs) I almost threw one in the sixth grade, but a guy hit a home run off me.
Q: Is there a career baseball highlight that you’d like to share with us?
A: When I was a sophomore, we hosted a sectional game for the first time in about 13 years, I think, and we beat Buckeye Trail, 6-4. That was pretty exciting.
Q: What does your pitching repertoire include?
A: Fastball, circle change, curve, and knuckleball. I really like to throw the knuckleball, especially when it’s windy outside. When it’s working, it does pretty much what it wants to do.
Q: Does your catcher have to wear an over-sized mitt?
A: No, Logan (Brookover) just wore a regular catcher’s mitt. He did a good job, just like Wyatt (Smitley) did the year before.
Q: How about your curveball?
A: (Laughs) It’s a work in progress.
Q: You played for the Beverly/Lowell baseball team last summer. How’d that go?
A: That was a lot of fun, especially when we got to the regional (near Toledo). I’m planning on playing there again next summer.
Q: Do you think you’d like to play baseball at the college level?
A: Definitely. I don’t know where yet, but I’ve been looking at a few schools, like (NCAA D2) Ohio Valley University (in Vienna, W.Va.).
Q: How’s the Frontier basketball team looking these days?
A: I think we’re going to be all right if we stick to the fundamentals and do the little things right. We’ve got a big frontline, and the guards provide something different. We’ve had a couple of scrimmages, and at times, we’ve looked pretty good. We’ve also looked rough, but they’re just scrimmages.
Q: Who has helped impact your sports career at Frontier?
A: My whole family in general. They’re always there for me. And at games, they’re always sitting together.
Q: Last fall, you were Frontier’s homecoming king. What was that like?
A: (Laughs) That was great and a big honor. I didn’t think that was going to happen, because the other kids were good, too.
Q: What do you do off the playing field?
A: Mostly I just play baseball and basketball. But recently, I’ve picked up golf. I also hunt a little. Yesterday (Monday) I was out deer hunting.
Q: Anything else that you’d like to add?
A: My little brother (Noah) is in the seventh grade, and he’s a pitcher like me.
Q: Ah, so he’s learning how to pitch from big brother?
A: (Laughs) I guess.
Ron Johnston, email@example.com